2015 may have the best action movie in the name of Mad Max Fury Road, but the year also boasts the biggest, most enjoyable and most destructive movie: San Andreas. The premise is simple: The famous San Andreas fault line gives way causing the surrounding land mass to crack in half, followed by the obliteration of California. The Rock teams up with Carla Gugino to save their daughter. Let chaos commence!
The phenomenal special effects, in my opinion, should be considered for the next Oscars awards. The detail is so staggering and clear you'd be hard pressed to find any flaws. Not that you'll be hunting for any as by the time the first quake breaks out, your jaw will drop at the might and enormity of the sequences. Director Brad Peyton (Journey 2: Mysterious Island) handles the action superbly, throwing you right into the deep end, the suspense is killer yet there's always a sense of fun. The sound design is tremendous, every single piece of shattering glass and rumble of debris envelopes you in the theatre, taking on their own specific sound design, the illusion of danger coming from all around is alive and rather menacing.
Lead star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is on fine form, he is the most likable movie star, and most bankable. Johnson's charisma and screen presence is as powerful as the earthquake. His role as Ray Gaines, a helicopter rescue man, is utterly convincing. There are some strong female roles in this movie which is great, we need more like this.
Carla Gugino is awesome and very funny as Emma, joining her ex-husband Ray Gaines to find their daughter Blake, played by the talented Alexandra Daddario. Gugino isn't a damsel in distress, she fights for herself as all hell breaks loose around her. One of the finest scenes in the movie sees her character escape a collapsing building, taking refuge on the roof as it slowly falls beneath her feet. Gaines comes in on his chopper and hovers above on a terrifying rescue attempt.
Daddario is superb, after her kick-ass role in Texas Chainsaw 3D she proves herself once again in a role going up against all odds. Her character Blake is resourceful and motivated, and you root for her, hoping she'll survive. A big thumbs up to Paul Giamatti as Dr. Lawrence, a mad scientist type character who runs around the screen trying to warn people about the incoming quake. Giamatti is so suited to the role, I couldn't imagine anyone else in his shoes.
With outstanding support from Archie Panjabi, Ioan Gruffudd, Hugo Johnstone-Burt, Art Parkinson, Will Yun Lee, Colton Haynes and a sassy cameo from Kylie Minogue, a well rounded cast solidifies the wild California obliteration. This film is a must in 3D, watching The Rock commandeer a boat and ride a tsunami as it crests brings so much joy, this film unleashed the inner child in me as I leapt out in my seat in excitement, literally. Towers crumble spectacularly, land masses rise and fall, plus the action shots are explosive enough to make Michael Bay green with envy!
To those expecting a film that has logic, realism and a story that will stimulate your cranium, San Andreas won't be a wise choice, but in that case suspend your logic, forget realism and just enjoy yourself. It's not every day you get to see a film that has The Rock riding tsunamis and dodging collapsing buildings in a helicopter accompanied by the beautiful Carla Gugino. I reckon after another viewing of this epic summer blockbuster, it'll be even more fun. We need more movies like this, escapist fun that has the heart to go with it and the odd bit of Hollywood cheese, not to mention an ending that will leave you misty eyed and with a big grin after you leave the cinema.